THE leader of Trafford Labour group believes the party can retake control of Trafford Council after its narrow victory in the Broadheath by-election last week.
Helen Boyle won the hotly contested seat with 1,377 votes, beating the Conservative candidate, Brenda Houraghan, who received 1,258 votes.
UKIP came third with 234 votes, Liberal Democrats were fourth with 150 votes and the Green Party was fifth with 67 votes.
But leader of the council and Trafford Conservative group, Cllr Matt Colledge, said the Labour party campaigners decision to sign the unofficial party anthem ‘The Red Flag’, was premature.
“Judging by the singing of the Red Flag at the election count the Labour group in Trafford clearly believe they will be taking control of Trafford in May's elections,” said Cllr Colledge.
“However whilst it is disappointing to lose the ward I was pleased that there was a swing to us and against Labour which if repeated in May should help stop Labour controlling Trafford.”
Cllr Colledge clarified that Ms Houraghan fought for another seat in the Broadheath Ward in 2012 and also lost, but by a larger margin.
The by-election January 16 was held following the death of Cllr Ken Weston in November last year.
Labour leader, Cllr David Acton, welcomed Cllr Boyle to the council but denied Labour is complacent.
“I think this victory leaves Labour in a very good position to challenge the Tories come the local elections in May,” said Cllr Acton.
“We would need to gain two more seats in May to arrest control away from the Conservatives in May.
“We found a lot of people on the doorstep who were really concerned about the way the council was being run by the Tories and wanted a change of direction.
“I take nothing for granted, and I and the Labour Group will work very hard to work towards making that change in May.”
The composition of Trafford Council is currently 33 Conservative, 26 Labour and four Liberal Democrats.
Turnout for the by-election was low at 30 per cent.